Top 5 Women’s Swims From 2019 World Junior Championships


  • 50-Meter Course
  • Duna Arena, Budapest (Hungary)
  • Pool swimming: Tuesday, August 20 – Sunday, August 25, 2019
  • Live results

Several Championships Records and World Junior Records bit the dust before all was said and done in Budapest. Now that the 2019 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships have concluded, let’s take a look at the top 5 performances for both men and women.

Look for a follow-up post for the men’s swims.

Top 5 Female Races at 2019 FINA World Junior Championships

#1 – Alba Vazquez‘s 4:38.53 400 IM 

Nabbing Spain’s sole gold in Budapest, 17-year-old Alba Vazquez clocked not only a new Championships Record but a new World Junior Record in the women’s 400m IM. The teen dipped well under the 4:40 threshold for a new lifetime best of 4:38.53, laying waste to her previous PB of 4:40.65 she produced just weeks ago in Kazan to take European Junior Championships gold.

Vazquez’s new WJR time would have finished 7th in the stacked women’s 400m IM final in Gwangju this year, finishing ahead of Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Jakabos’ 4:39.15 and France’s Fantine Lesaffre’s 4:39.68.

#2 – Lani Pallister‘s 4:05.42 400 Free

Australian teen Lani Pallister swept the women’s 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events to wind up being named FINA’s Female Swimmer of the Meet. Her trio of victories all represented best times for the Cotton Tree athlete, but her 400m free was particularly impressive. Her winning effort of 4:05.42 overtook the previous World Junior Championships Record held by fellow Aussie Tamsin Cook and now ranks Pallister as the 3rd fastest 17-year-old female ever and 8th fastest female of any age from Australia.

Additionally, Pallister’s time would have rendered her the 7th place finisher in the women’s 400m free event in Gwangju.

#3 – Gretchen Walsh‘s 53.74 100 Free

American 16-year-old Gretchen Walsh dipped under the 54-second threshold in the women’s freestyle for the first time in her young career en route to World Junior Championships gold. She clocked a new personal best mark of 53.74, blowing away her previous career-fastest entering this competition of the 54.13 she notched at this summer’s U.S. Nationals. She also split 53.01 on the anchor of the women’s 400 medley relay, on the last day of the meet no less, to back it up.

With her swim, Walsh is aggressively inching closer to Olympic icon Missy Franklin‘s National Age Record of 53.63 set back at the 2011 U.S. Nationals, now sitting just .11 away. Walsh did overtake Olympic champion in this event, Simone Manuel‘s PB from this age group of 53.86 that was ranked #2 behind Franklin.

#4 – Erika Fairweather‘s 1:57.96 200 Free

At just 15 years of age, Erika Fairweather single-handedly delivered New Zealand’s only medal of these Championships, topping the women’s 200m free podium in a time of 1:57.96. That outing not only denied the aforementioned Pallister her 4th gold, but it represents the teen’s fastest-ever time and first performance ever under the 1:58 barrier.

Fairweather’s previous lifetime best sat at the 1:58.84 she clocked as lead-off on the Kiwi women’s 4x200m freestyle relay at this year’s senior World Championships.

With her performance in Budapest, Fairweather now ranks as the 2nd fastest New Zealand 200m freestyler ever, sitting only behind Olympian Lauren Boyle whose fastest swim checks in as the New Zealand National Record of 1:56.82 notched back in 2014.

#5 – Torri Huske‘s 57.71 100 Fly

Torri Huske of the United States powered her way to gold in the women’s 100m fly, earning a new personal best of 57.71 in the process. That performance sliced almost a tenth off of her old National Age Group (NAG) Record of 57.80 put up at this year’s U.S. National Championships.

When Huske first set the NAG, she broke a 38-year-old legendary record from Mary T. Meagher of 57.93. The teen’s time in Budapest would have barely missed out on this year’s senior World Championships final.

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Kozan’s 2:11 should be on this list.

Rick Henderson

Agree!! Her free on the end of the short IM is astonishing.

13 % Chinese person

Did you think that of Shiwen’s ?


Brea aquatics doesn’t juice their athletes. China has in the past

Jim C

There is a big difference between amazing as in world class, and AMAZING as n the best of all time. Flo Jo’s 100 and 200 times were AMAZING and there is widespread suspicion that there were drugs involved. The situation is similar with Ye Shiwen, but this is not AMAZING with CAPITAL LETTERS.

Awsi Dooger

Flo Jo’s 100 meter record is actually doubted based on a malfunctioning wind gauge. The wind was substantial behind them and then all of a sudden registered legal for that race alone, even though the competitors didn’t notice a change.

Drugs also have been speculated, but not to the extent of some of the Eastern European female runners who produced the 400 and 800 records that still stand and are basically unchallenged decades later.


Agreed! That has to be one of the fastest times in history for a 15yo. She definitely has been one of the most underrated swimmers this summer—she’s been improving rapidly, but hasn’t gotten as much attention as I would think someone of her caliber of improvement would get.

FWIW – Huske’s time is faster among 16-year olds all time than Kozma’s is among 15-year olds all-time.

Both great swims. At some point the debate over who gets in and doesn’t is really splitting hairs. Huske had a better battle for her gold medal, so I kind of like her swim better. But, strong argument to be made either way.


Although this category is looking at individual races, I think that collectively, the TEAM USA women’s relays were outstanding! Those young athletes just powered through for one gold after another. Superb job!


Not really sure i understand this ranking … Walsh is 3rd, although this time only would have placed her 13th at the world championships. At the same time her (and that of Parker as well) 50 free time would have been enough for 11th? Pallister’s 1500 free is not mentioned although it would have placed her 5th at the world championships? Pilato’s 50 breast not mentioned although it would have placed her 5th at the world championships? Fairweather mentioned although this time only would have been enough for 14th at the world championships + 3 or 4 faster girls didn’t even compete at junior worlds (Gose + 2 or 3 chinese girls)? Chikunova not mentioned although her 200 breast time… Read more »

Jim C

Actually Pallister’s 1500 m time is mentioned in the number two ranked Pallister paragraph. I imagine they chose what they considered her best race. As far as Walsh is concerned 13th at WC in the 100 free is a lot more impressive than 11th in the 50 free. Right now Walsh is a good bet to win an Olympic medal as a member of the 4×100 free relay.


How about trying to reason? So swimming a time that would have placed you 13th at worlds is more impressive than swimming a time that would have placed you 11th, just because you say so? Whether Walsh will win an olympic medal next year is completely irrelevant for this discussion. Obviously they thought that Pallister’s 800 free time was more impressive, but i would like to hear the reasoning considering that her 1500 free time would have placed her higher at the world championships than her 800 free time. Also it makes no sense to call the article “Top 5 Women’s SWIMS …” and then limit yourself to 1 swim per athlete, then you could have as well named the… Read more »

Jim C

Walsh was 1.03 s off the WR in the 100. In the 50, a race half as long, she was 1.04 s off. Seems pretty obvious to me that her 100m time was better.

Jim C

Correction she was 2.03s off the WR in the 100–but that is still slightly better.

Well, your ranking would be right if we were basing it entirely on “where a time would have placed at Worlds.” Chikunova, for example, has been much, much faster than that time, and we didn’t think that being 3 seconds slower than ones best time was a good fit for the list.


That logic still makes no sense …
Let’s say Milak swims 0.01 seconds slower than his PB at the olympics next year and wins gold while for example Kapas swims a new PB 0f 2:06.00 in the 200 fly and wins gold too, would you then consider her swim better because she set a PB? You should rank those swims without taking into consideration who actually did them, if anything you should take age into consideration.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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